Product Review: Mabot Starter Kit by Bell Robotics #STEM #STEAM #Robot

Mabot by BellRobot is a modular robot designed to teach coding and uses artificial intelligence. For purposes of the review I tested the Mabot in the starter configuration. Inside the box were a control ball, two drive balls, a battery ball which uses a lithium polymer battery, a color sensing ball and a six port connection ball. It also contained various connectors including a Lego Adapter, USB cable for charging, a disassembly tool, and quick start guide. There is a QR code to scan to install a companion app.

My kids love all things robots – after all we are a tech family and get to test out some fun products.

What we love…

Mabot modular robot was easy to put together and make various creations using plug and play. Used #STEM and #STEAM while encouraging creativity. I also liked the compatibility with Lego Techno.

What we’d love to see…

more straightforward instructions that were easier to find, a way to label each of the various balls with what they do either via colored dots or another method.

Summary

Overall, this is a fun modular robot designed for kids and adults which encourages creativity, #STEM learning and exploration.

Our Rating

recommended-by-the-imums

As a mom, I liked the fact that the Mabot robot was modular and easy to build. Mabot is recommended for kids six and up – my ten year old enjoyed building one of three suggested Mabot robots using the companion app. We did take a Sharpie marker and labeled each using the first letter of what it did. That made it easier for us to assemble the configuration and test it for review purposes. We put together the Mabot starter robot (which drove!) and then started experimenting with other configurations.

One of the great things was that my son was experimenting with putting different pieces in different ways to see what would happen – the ultimate STEM exploration. Mabot also includes a tool to take apart the modules – we used it both to separate the modules as well as remove the connectors – I suppose we could have pulled apart the modules but wanted to be careful of the pin configuration used within the connectors. Using the two companion apps, Mabot Go and Mabot IDE we were able to experiment with additional coding.

As a mom, I love all toys that encourage my kids’ curiosity. Bonus points if it teaches them something. It was simple to use once I figured out each module and what they did. When we played with it, we used it at the kitchen table so that the pieces didn’t get put somewhere else. Once we identified each of the pieces, building with the companion app was fun and easy. After building the Mabot starter robot we then started experimenting – and loved the various colors that lit up and things that we could see when we used the Bluetooth ball and tried the various levers to program and make it move. It also allows for hot plug and play which allowed us to start, stop, plug and unplug while experimenting without having to power off the Mabot.

In addition, it would be great to have a set of instructions labeling each of the modules included either inside the box or right inside the app. Amazon has an encyclopedia in the user guide listing, although I searched I was unable to find it on Bellrobot’s website. When I used the app, it got stuck because it couldn’t connect to the Bluetooth module – because I put the robot together wrong. Once I figured out my mistake, pulled off the connector pieces and put it together again it worked. This was a bit frustrating for my son, but once we figured it out we made many different robots.

Overall, the Mabot and companion apps are great educational tools that will encourage kids to learn, experiment, be creative and test new concepts. I loved that screentime was not just screentime but because educational learning time.

NOTE: A product was supplied by the company for review purposes, no other form of compensation was received, all opinions stated in the review are those of the author and have been offered honestly.The links in this post may contain affiliate links where The iMums will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on our link, this helps to support the costs of running this site and we appreciate your support.

Cubelets by Modular Robotics – Review



Cubelets by Modular Robotics

Cubelets are robot blocks which allow children and adults to build robots and learn. You first combine three types of Cublets to make a robot – by switching the different types of Cubelets you use, you can make a different robot just by changing one block. Every robot requires the use of a gray Cublet which is the battery Cublet who powers the fun! For this review I tested the Cubelets TWELVE which includes 12 robot blocks and two Brick Adapters which allow you to connect Lego’s to your creation. Inside the box are Cubelets – each one has a different job to do, they snap together with magnets to help them do each of their specific tasks. There are two drive modules, a rotate, a flashlight, two distance,

  • Drive: Contains a motor and roller wheels for moving on a horizontal surface.
  • Rotate: One face spins at a rate corresponding to the block’s input values.
  • Flashlight: The Flashlight Cubelet emits a focused beam of light from a powerful white LED. This can be used to “shine the way” for your robot to move or simply for fun!
  • Distance: Detects how far it is from an object. It uses infrared light and is accurate between 10 and 80 cm.
  • Brightness: Brightness Cubelet has an analog photocell that responds to varying light conditions
  • Inverse: Inverse Cubelet will (weighted) average its inputs and then output a value of one minus that average.

 

What we love…

Cubelets are an easy to use fun robotics for kids of all ages, there are so many different things each block robot does. Kids were so engaged they didn’t realize they were learning.

What we’d love to see…

the ability to have an extra power included in the 12 block set allowing for multiple users

Summary

Cubelets by Modular Robotics were a huge hit both with my kids and anyone else I tried them with. It’s a great way to teach STEM and encourage kids to practice cause and effect, learn programming and have fun without realizing they are learning.

Our Rating

 

recommended-by-the-imums

My kids and I loved playing with Cubelets by Modular Robotics. It was amazing to see all the different combinations that we could create and quickly! We even used Cubelets at a recent Cub Scout meeting as part of the robotics requirement – it was quick and easy and the Cub Scouts could easily see the cause and effect when they added or removed blocks. We also experimented with different surfaces, using Bluetooth and Blocky with our Cubelets as well as using light detection. When I have used Cubelets with my kids and with the Cub Scouts I was amazed at how engaged they were and ready to learn. At the end of the meeting, my Cub Scouts were asking to spend more time with the robots – and as a results we decided to work on a special project that involved them. I also loved that the kids were able to take what they learned, do some research at home and then share more about the robots that they learned about. We talked about the manufacturing process and how each block was actually a small robot each with a discrete task. They are easily portable in a small box – and I know I will be keeping them in my Scout bag just in case we have extra time at the end of a meeting. I also loved there were no “wrong” ways for Cubelets to be built – this way we could mix, match and experiment to see what each robot cube did. You can even build a lego creation and using Cubelets Brick adapters bring it to life.

The only thing I wished was that the Cubelets package I was using had a second power because we split into groups at our meeting – and so we had to pass the power back and forth to power our robots.

Overall, Cubelets by Modular Robotics were a huge hit both with my kids and anyone else I tried them with. It’s a great way to teach STEM and encourage kids to practice cause and effect, learn programming and have fun without realizing they are learning.

Cublets are available from many retailers including Amazon. Prices range from $129.95 to $499.95 depending on configuration chosen.

For more great tech toys check out our Holiday Gift Guide 2017 or our #STEM toy guide.

Cubelets
Cubelets
by Modular Robotics

Category: Education, Entertainment
Requirements: Compatible with iPad2Wifi-iPad2Wifi, iPad23G-iPad23G, iPhone4S-iPhone4S, iPadThirdGen-iPadThirdGen, iPadThirdGen4G-iPadThirdGen4G, iPhone5-iPhone5, iPodTouchFifthGen-iPodTouchFifthGen, iPadFourthGen-iPadFourthGen, iPadFourthGen4G-iPadFourthGen4G, iPadMini-iPadMini, iPadMini4G-iPadMini4G, iPhone5c-iPhone5c, iPhone5s-iPhone5s, iPadAir-iPadAir, iPadAirCellular-iPadAirCellular, iPadMiniRetina-iPadMiniRetina, iPadMiniRetinaCellular-iPadMiniRetinaCellular, iPhone6-iPhone6, iPhone6Plus-iPhone6Plus, iPadAir2-iPadAir2, iPadAir2Cellular-iPadAir2Cellular, iPadMini3-iPadMini3, iPadMini3Cellular-iPadMini3Cellular, iPodTouchSixthGen-iPodTouchSixthGen, iPhone6s-iPhone6s, iPhone6sPlus-iPhone6sPlus, iPadMini4-iPadMini4, iPadMini4Cellular-iPadMini4Cellular, iPadPro-iPadPro, iPadProCellular-iPadProCellular, iPadPro97-iPadPro97, iPadPro97Cellular-iPadPro97Cellular, iPhoneSE-iPhoneSE, iPhone7-iPhone7, iPhone7Plus-iPhone7Plus, iPad611-iPad611, iPad612-iPad612, iPad71-iPad71, iPad72-iPad72, iPad73-iPad73, iPad74-iPad74, iPhone8-iPhone8, iPhone8Plus-iPhone8Plus, iPhoneX-iPhoneX, iPad75-iPad75, iPad76-iPad76, iPhoneXS-iPhoneXS, iPhoneXSMax-iPhoneXSMax, iPhoneXR-iPhoneXR, iPad812-iPad812, iPad834-iPad834, iPad856-iPad856, iPad878-iPad878
Size: 7.25 MB

$FREE

Screenshots
(Click to enlarge)
Screenshots for iPad
(Click to enlarge)


Cubelets Blockly
Cubelets Blockly
by Modular Robotics

Category: Education, Entertainment
Requirements: Compatible with iPad2Wifi-iPad2Wifi, iPad23G-iPad23G, iPadThirdGen-iPadThirdGen, iPadThirdGen4G-iPadThirdGen4G, iPadFourthGen-iPadFourthGen, iPadFourthGen4G-iPadFourthGen4G, iPadMini-iPadMini, iPadMini4G-iPadMini4G, iPadAir-iPadAir, iPadAirCellular-iPadAirCellular, iPadMiniRetina-iPadMiniRetina, iPadMiniRetinaCellular-iPadMiniRetinaCellular, iPadAir2-iPadAir2, iPadAir2Cellular-iPadAir2Cellular, iPadMini3-iPadMini3, iPadMini3Cellular-iPadMini3Cellular, iPadMini4-iPadMini4, iPadMini4Cellular-iPadMini4Cellular, iPadPro-iPadPro, iPadProCellular-iPadProCellular, iPadPro97-iPadPro97, iPadPro97Cellular-iPadPro97Cellular, iPad611-iPad611, iPad612-iPad612, iPad71-iPad71, iPad72-iPad72, iPad73-iPad73, iPad74-iPad74, iPad75-iPad75, iPad76-iPad76, iPad812-iPad812, iPad834-iPad834, iPad856-iPad856, iPad878-iPad878
Size: 36.33 MB

$FREE

Screenshots for iPad
(Click to enlarge)


NOTE: A product was supplied by the company for review purposes, no other form of compensation was received, all opinions stated in the review are those of the author and have been offered honestly.The links in this post may contain affiliate links where The iMums will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on our link, this helps to support the costs of running this site and we appreciate your support.

Dragon Times – A math adventure card game for kids by Dragon Times

Dragon Times is a fun interactive card game designed for kids six and over that helps kids learn multiplication.  With the advent of common core math, my older son has struggled to understand the variety of ways to solve a math problem.  Dragon Times has helped him to memorize his multiplication factors in a fun easy way that makes him engaged.  Inside the box are 60 spell cards, 42 dragon cards, two times spinner grids, a spinner and instructions.  My son is a visual learner and seeing the differences on the dragon cards helped him to differentiate even versus odd, and look to identify unique features on each of the cards.

What we love…

fun way to teach kids about multiplication that involves a math game instead of worksheets

What we’d love to see…

a larger printable times table or spell book so that my son could reference it during gameplay.

Summary

Fun interactive game which encourages kids to learn their times tables while doing spells and practicing real time learning.

Our Rating

 

recommended-by-the-imums

Gameplay is fun – although it takes a bit of practice to make sure kids are really looking at the cards to understand the features on each one.  In level 1, the dealer passes out six spell cards to each player (2 or more can play).  Next, the dealer places eight cards down with the dragons facing upward.  The first player then looks at their cards and tries to find a pair of numbers that when multiplied gives as a product of one the Dragon numbers that are down – there is a Times Table (aka spell book) that can help them.  When we were first playing this, a parent paired with our son to help him look at the cards and identify the characteristics.  If the player makes a lucky pair, they show the other players and get to pick up the Dragon card.  Gameplay continues until one player finishes their spell cards or until all the Dragons are saved.  The winner of this stage is the person who has the most Dragon cards.

After your child has mastered Level 1, there is a second level where they can tame dragons and guide them to safety.  This uses the spinner and previously saved Dragons from the first stage.  Each player spins the spinner.  At each spin, players look at the Dragons and numbers to see if one has a particular feature that the spinner landed on.  This could be a factor, even/odd, square number.  If it matches, they keep the Dragon near the spinner and it is considered tamed.  When a player does not have a lucky Dragon, they wait for the next spin.  There is also an Evil Swap Spell card where players exchange Dragons in their hand clockwise around.  The Evil Swap spell was confusing for my son, because he didn’t understand why he needed to pass his cards on.  For the first few games we didn’t use it until he got a better hang of how the game worked and started looking at the different characteristics of the cards.  The winner of this phase is when only one or none of the players have any Dragon Cards.  The winner is the one that has the most tamed dragons near the spinner.

Sample of the Dragon Cards

Dragon Cards – these cards represent multiples of numbers 1 to 10 – every number is a dragon.  Each dragon has features to help children know the factors of the number, if the number is even or odd or if it’s a square number.  Numbers 1-10 are Baby Dragons, odd numbers are Snake Dragons, even numbers stand on four legs. Multiples of 3  (or numbers divisible by 3) have one horn, multiples of 4 have wings, multiples of  5 have big ears, multiples of have a double tail, multiples of have pointy tails, multiples of 8 have a mane, multiples of have three horns, multiples of 10 have two heads, and  Square numbers breathe or throw fire.

Sample of the Spell Cards

Spell Cards – these are the numbers from one to 10. There is also a “Wizard’s Choice” Spell card which can replace any spell card.  The “Wizard’s Choice” card can also be used as a “wild” card to help the player capture a dragon in Stage 1.

I enjoyed playing this game with my son.  I noticed that it helped him take on more perspective about which cards had which features were on each card and his math skills improved quite a bit!

In terms of enhancements, I wish there were a printable on the Dragon Times table as I just found one online and printed it out – the reference one for my son was a bit too small when he wanted to play quickly.  There is an included spellbook which is likely perfect for most kids, but my son wanted a larger visual to help him quickly run his finger down the times table.

Overall, this is a fun game that teaches while you learn and engages kids to learn a fundamental math skill.  I enjoyed it because I didn’t have to draw diagrams, make circles or have to show my son how to solve the problem in multiple ways.  It was simply pure enjoyment as we learned math times tables and real time learning.

Pricing – Dragontimes is available for CAN $19.99 on their website or Amazon.

NOTE: A product was supplied by the company for review purposes, no other form of compensation was received, all opinions stated in the review are those of the author and have been offered honestly.The links in this post may contain affiliate links where The iMums will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on our link, this helps to support the costs of running this site and we appreciate your support.

Review of My First Lab WOW Scope – A 3D microscope for Kids

 

What we love…

Binocular microscope, good quality lenses, allows user to look at 3D objects as well as slides

What we’d love to see…

Additional higher powered lenses, a petri dish included

Summary

The WOW Scope is a binocular microscope with interchangeable 10X and 25X eyepieces, giving a total magnification of 20X and 50X. It is well made and allows the user to examine 3D objects as well as glass slides.

recommended-by-the-imums

The World of Wonder (WOW) Scope from My First Lab is a microscope designed for children. The WOW Scope is different than most children’s microscopes on the market in 3 major ways

  1. it is a binocular microscope i.e. it has 2 eyepieces, most children’s microscopes are monocular (1 eyepiece.)
  2. It is designed not only for viewing microscope slides but also for viewing 3D objects and so has both upper and lower illumination
  3. It is made by a company (C & A Scientific) who make scientific and educational microscopes for laboratory use.

 

What’s in the Box

The WOW Scope includes: a binocular microscope, 2 interchangeable sets of eyepieces (10x and 25x), a slide case and 2 prepared slides.

One slide is traditionally prepared samples of a mosquito mouth and fly wing – these are thin sections mounted on a glass slide, under a coverslip . The other slide is white card and has 3 samples glued on – sand, a small feather and an insect leg, these are 3D objects and have not been cut into thin sections or mounted under a cover slip.

Set Up

Set up is very quick and easy, and requires 2 AA batteries. The batteries are inserted into the battery compartment in the base of the microscope. Then the slide is placed on the stage (base of the microscope) and held in place by 2 metal clips. The light switch has 2 on positions, for glass slides light I is switched on, this illuminated the slide from under the stage. For 3D objects light II is switched on – this illuminates the object from on top.

The 10x eyepieces are put in place and the large black knob on the side is turned to move the microscope head down and up until the object is in focus. For higher magnification the 25x eyepieces replace the 10x and the focus is then readjusted. The total magnification is 20x or 50x depending on which eyepieces are used.

Construction

The WOW scope is very solidly made, it does have some plastic parts e.g. the base  but it is mostly made of metal and has glass optics. It feels well made and the focussing knob moves the microscope very smoothly up and down.  I have several other kids’ microscopes at home and the quality of the optics is noticeably better on the WOW scope than the others I have.

In Use

The Wow Scope is used in a different way than a traditional microscope, usually the eyepiece lens stays the same and you rotate through different objective lenses (the ones closest to the slide) for different magnification levels. Instead with the WOW scope the objective lens is fixed and it is the eyepiece lens that you change by sliding it in and out of the eyepiece barrel. It is easy to change the lenses but you do need to make sure you have a safe place to put down the ones you are not using.

I love how the WOW scope is designed to encourage kids to examine closely any object they find. Unlike most microscopes the WOW scope is designed to let you examine 3D objects rather than just prepared slides. This makes it much easier to just pick something from the environment such as a leaf or feather. My kids and I looked at moss, sugar, feathers, coins, rocks and leaves as well as looking at microscope slides with prepared specimens. It worked well except when we tried to examine objects that were “too 3D” e.g. a pine cone. This was too hard to focus as the parts of the cone were at many different distances, a somewhat flat object works better. I was a little nervous about placing rough objects, such as rocks, directly on the glass stage, as I was worried it would get scratched. It would be nice to see a petri dish or other container for holding the 3D objects included.

As well as being able to examine 3D objects the WOW scopes optical set up makes objects appear more 3 dimensional. It has 2 eyepiece lenses each with their own objective lens, so you can use both eyes at once and they each see the specimen from slightly different angles.

Moss through WOW Scope

 

The levels of magnification are 20x and 50x, most kids microscopes will have magnification levels higher than this (this is similar to their low level magnification.) Because of this, if you want to look at a lot of slides at cellular level, then a microscope with higher magnification e.g My First Lab Duo-Scope Microscope may be a better choice. However, because you can spontaneously examine objects you find in nature, this scope is a great way to get kids engaged in STEM, as they can explore whatever they find, instead of needing to have prepared slides to examine. It is still useful for examining slides if you are looking at larger scale objects such as the parts of an insect, rather than looking at the cellular level

Price and Availability

Available from myfirstlab.com for US$69.99 Recommended for Ages 7+ , other microscopes from my first lab are available on Amazon

Summary

The World of Wonder (WOW) Scope from My First Lab is a great STEM gift to get kids interested in exploring science and nature. It is a binocular microscope with interchangeable 10X and 25X eyepieces, giving a total magnification of 20X and 50X. The WOW scope can be used with traditional glass microscope slides but also allows viewing of 3-D objects such as feathers, rocks and leaves. This lets kids view objects they find when out exploring in nature, without needing to do any slide preparation. The WOW scope is well made, My First Lab is a division of C & A Scientific who make scientific and educational microscopes so they use good quality glass optics for clearer viewing.

The WOW scope is featured in our Kids Holiday Gift Guide – 11 Tech Toys For Kids of All Ages

NOTE: A product was supplied by the company for review purposes, no other form of compensation was received, all opinions stated in the review are those of the author and have been offered honestly.The links in this post may contain affiliate links where The iMums will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on our link, this helps to support the costs of running this site and we appreciate your support.